National Needlework Archive

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The Old Chapel Textile Centre in Newbury, home of the National Needlework Archive, offer courses, workshops and exhibitions in sewing, haberdashery,  needlecraft, textiles, embroidery, cross stitch, quilting and textile art. Our shop carries an extensive range of all needlework and sewing products including fabric, threads, wool, zips and patterns. We have an archive of historic textiles and patterns and are home to The Country Wife mural.

Poetry in Stitches







A Great Focus for your Creativity! - The NNA’s ever popular Poetry in Stitches project is embracing ‘Lockdown’ and encouraging all textile artists, young and old, amateur or professional, to use their creative talents to reflect on the Country’s difficult situation this year.

Do you love poems and making new and exciting textile pieces? - We want you to find a poem that reflects your emotions or your experiences during Lockdown and its aftermath.  Once you have found a poem you like, then create a picture which interprets the poem in a visual form.

Poems can be found on the BBC website, on the web generally (search ‘poems coronavirus’, or poems ‘lockdown’, for masses of inspiration) or you can use old poems that you feel are relevant to you now.  Subjects could include grief, loss, fear, isolation, loneliness, financial problems; or more positively be about Spring, down-time, family, kindness.  Maybe the NHS, online shopping, volunteers, TV repeats, walking, neighbours, or online choirs – whatever means something to you about our current times. Do not include the text of the poem in your picture as the poem will be displayed with it.  We need you to create an image which interprets your chosen poem.

Share your work with others to inspire and delight! - As with previous Poetry in Stitches series we will be sharing your pictures, together with the poems, in exhibitions; but this time our main exhibition space will be an online gallery on the NNA website.  We will have a ‘real’ exhibition of selected pieces of work at a later date.  

Please email in a photograph of your work, together with  the poem which inspired it, as soon as possible and any time from now onwards, but there are two deadline dates:

1. A photograph of your work, together with a copy of the poem, for the online gallery can be emailed in until 30th April 2021.

2. A photograph of a piece of work that you wish to be considered for the ‘real’ exhibitions, in addition to the online gallery has to be emailed in before the revised date of 30th April 2021 together with a copy of the poem.

Be small and restrained, or go large and wild! - The size, shape or depth of your work doesn’t matter for the online gallery or the ‘real’ exhibitions


if you wish your work to be further considered for our touring programme of framed loans to  public buildings or waiting rooms then your work must conform to one of the following square or rectangular sizes to fit the NNA frames:

W = 60 cms x L = 75 cms  x max D = 2 cms. OR

W = 60 cms x L = 60 cms  x max D = 2 cms  OR

W = 30 cms x L = 30 cms  x max D = 2 cms  

Please complete a registration form to take part.  Please read all of the terms and conditions on this form carefully before submitting your entry.  

There is no charge to take part in the online gallery -

but a small charge to cover return postage of your work may be applicable for the ‘real’ exhibitions.  All loaned work will be returned.

Please click here to download the Terms and Conditions (word document).

Please click here to download the Registration Form (word document).

While You are There

The buddleia’s adrift with wings,

bird song hangs in shimmering air.

The day is ripe with sensuous things,

but I am here and you are there.

The stocks’ night-scent is warm and sweet.

The river’s singing soft and clear.

Evening soothes the summer’s heat,

but you are there and I am here.

All’s lost on me - the butterflies,

bird song and scented evening air.

I pace the garden, wish again

that you were here or I were there.

We were not made to be alone –

we fit, and knew it from the start.

We can’t be whole until we’re home,

hand in hand and heart to heart.

My powerless longing strikes me dumb,

but I will call and you will hear,

and I will wait until you come,

and you are here and I am here.

Sarah Willans (1954 - )

Sheila Warman

Stella Hughes

Textile by Julieanne Long. Cambs.

“I selected this poem as for me, it sums up how fragile life is. We might build huge buildings, have complicated networks and grand plans, but the corona virus brings us up swiftly to acknowledge our limitations.

Also, on a more personal level, I like to attend the Globe in London each year as a groundling, unfortunately I have been unable to do this. I have however managed to watch a lot of Shakespeare filmed live from The Globe and the RSC in Stratford.

I decided to work in the round over an embroidery hoop to represent the Globe. I made the figure of Ariel out of wire, silk net, and stitch. I wanted the figure to be insubstantial and ethereal. I used needlelace stitching, and more silk net to attach him to the hoop.”

Our revels now are ended

 Our revels now are ended. These our actors,

As I foretold you, were all spirits and

Are melted into air, into thin air:

And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,

The cloud-capp’d towers, the gorgeous palaces,

The solemn temples, the great globe itself,

Yea, all which inherit, shall dissolve

And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,

Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff

As dreams are made on, and our little life

Is rounded with a sleep.


William Shakespeare

From The Tempest, Act 4 scene 1

Nature Trail. By Benjamin Zephaniah

At the bottom of my garden

There's a hedgehog and a frog

And a lot of creepy-crawlies

Living underneath a log,

There's a baby daddy long legs

And an easy-going snail

And a family of woodlice,

All are on my nature trail.

There are caterpillars waiting

For their time to come to fly,

There are worms turning the earth over

As ladybirds fly by,

Birds will visit, cats will visit

But they always chose their time

And I've even seen a fox visit

This wild garden of mine.

Squirrels come to nick my nuts

And busy bees come buzzing

And when the night time comes

Sometimes some dragonflies come humming,

My garden mice are very shy

And I've seen bats that growl

And in my garden I have seen

A very wise old owl.

My garden is a lively place

There's always something happening,

There's this constant search for food

And then there's all that flowering,

When you have a garden

You will never be alone

And I believe we all deserve

A garden of our own.

Umut Augustin

Julieanne Long